Are you covered at your workplace by Workers’ Compensation Insurance? Most employees are, with a few exceptions. You can easily find out by looking for or asking about a Workers’ Comp posting, often placed on the bulletin board in the employee lunchroom, or another common area where workers gather. This post will also explain what you should do if you are injured on the job in Missouri, and which doctors or healthcare facilities have been approved to treat you following your injury.
What Workers’ Comp Covers
Workers’ Comp covers most injuries and illnesses caused by work, from cuts and falls to muscle strains and repetitive motion injuries. Exposure to hazardous substances are covered and pre-existing conditions aggravated by your work duties may also be covered.
It might sound like Workers’ Compensation Insurance is in place to protect you when you are injured on the job in Missouri, and it does. But you might be surprised to know that, initially, lawmakers instituted Workers’ Comp to protect companies from lawsuits brought by injured workers. So it makes sense to know your rights, in the event that a work injury should happen to you. You don’t want to miss out on benefits because you miss required deadlines or because filing a claim is too complex.
For example, if you don’t file your claim because you fear retaliation from your employer, but your injury makes it hard to continue doing your job and you are eventually fired, you would have missed the deadline for filing, and you may also find it difficult to find a new job, given your injury.
Workers’ Comp laws vary from state to state. If you are injured on the job in Missouri, you are required to promptly notify your employer. The employer has the right to select the doctor who will treat your injury, and this information should be easily visible on the posted notice. If you are not sure, ask your employer, because visiting the doctor of your own choice may mean your employer is not liable to pay the medical bills for your treatment. In most cases, you will receive some compensation for time missed from work. Depending on the extent of your injuries, you may be entitled to temporary or permanent disability payments.
What if Your Boss Says You’re Not Covered?
If your supervisor insists your injury isn’t covered, consider calling a knowledgeable workers’ comp attorney. Generally speaking, workers’ compensation lawyers take on only those cases that can be won. Attorneys are paid a percentage of the monetary award, so you don’t need to pay any fees upfront. In Missouri, employment is “at-will” – generally, you can’t sue just for being fired, but you may be able to sue if your employer fails to maintain Workers’ Comp insurance, and you can possibly sue the manufacturer of equipment involved in your accident or injury. As well, illegal reasons exist for firing at-will employees, in which case you may have a wrongful termination case. Your attorney is trained to untangle these complexities, so be sure to share all the facts.
The knowledgeable workers’ comp attorneys at Quinn Estate & Elder Law are happy to assist in protecting your rights and winning the compensation you deserve under the law.